As that record suggests, the Owls have played well at home this year, but FAU may have to win this week without starting quarterback Chris Robison, who’s been limited this week by an ankle injury.
A win over the Bulldogs will go a long way toward ultimate bowl eligibility for the Owls.
What can FAU fans expect on Friday? Each week our Chuck King and Wajih AlBaroudi offer our Bold Predictions for that week’s game. Here’s what we expect from FAU vs. La. Tech this week.
FAU OFFENSE vs. LA. TECH
King: Regardless of who plays quarterback, FAU’s offense will struggle. Defenses are already loading up to stop running backs Devin Singletary and Kerrith Whyte, now they have even more incentive to make FAU beat them through the air. If Robison plays, his mobility will be limited. Backups De’Andre Johnson and Rafe Peavey have yet to show they can consistently move the Owls through the air. If Johnson gets the nod on Friday, his legs may give the Owls’ offense the boost it needs.
AlBaroudi: Devin Singletary hits his single-game season-high in rushing yardage. Despite running for a season-low 39 yards and having been outgained by backfield mate Kerrith Whyte in last week’s loss to Marshall, Singletary is primed for a bounce-back performance this Friday. With quarterback Chris Robison and leading receiver Jovon Durante dealing with injuries and playing on a short turnaround, FAU will have to rely on its ground game more heavily than usual. Singletary will deliver with his biggest game of the year.
FAU DEFENSE vs. LA. TECH
King: Quran Hafiz makes a difference for the Owls. Back at nickel back, which he played last year before moving to safety, Hafiz is a big hitter with a nose for the ball. He’ll make a couple of impactful hits against the Bulldogs, jarring the ball free at least once. Hafiz also gets his first interception of the season.
AlBaroudi: Andrew Soroh has a multi-sack game. Louisiana Tech’s offensive line has struggled mightily in pass protection this season, allowing at least two sacks in all seven of its games and giving up 11 over the past three weeks alone. And while Soroh isn’t the run defender his predecessor Azeez Al-Shaair was, he is certainly an effective pass rusher. Given the Owls’ struggles to generate pressure from their defensive line, it would be beneficial for them to send Soroh on blitzes as frequently as possible. That combination means the converted safety will be in the Louisiana Tech backfield early and often on Friday night.
FAU WILDCARD vs. La. TECH
King: Attendance on Friday underwhelms. When FAU struggles on the field, attendance tends to drop. Playing the game on Friday will cut into the amount of high school football players and their families who might normally attend but can’t because they have their own football game. The 6:30 kickoff poses challenges for people who would have to leave work early and those would rather stay him instead of navigating rush hour traffic. Howard Schnellenberger Field will be half full at best, which is a shame. This week, especially, Lane Kiffin and the Owls could use all the help they can get.
AlBaroudi: For the first time at home this season, FAU plays a wire-to-wire fourth quarter. It’s been an up-and-down year overall for the Owls – but not at FAU Stadium. FAU’s home matchups with Air Force, Bethune-Cookman and Old Dominion were all decided well before the final whistle – excluding a Week 2 special teams implosion which turned a comfortable win into a one-score game. That will not be the case this week. Louisiana Tech is one of the strongest teams in Conference USA, and represents FAU’s biggest home challenge to date. With injuries mounting and pressure to reach bowl-eligibility rising, the Owls will be fighting from first snap to last on Friday night. That type of game hasn’t been played in Boca Raton for quite some time.